Looking for a motion detector that works with CFLs

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Old 01-20-08, 12:11 PM
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Looking for a motion detector that works with CFLs

I installed CFLs throughout most of my house and then at a friends house noticed these cool motion detector switches he had put in to replace his typical light switches for his incandescent lights. I did some research and found that most of the motion detector switches don't work for small load CFLs.

My questions are these:
Can someone recommend a good motion detector switch for CFLs? Minimum load would be 13Watts. However I do have some fixtures that have 39 and 65 watts.

Many of my light switches are next to a switch for of a bathroom fan.
Will I be able to purchase a wall plate that has a normal switch opening next to an opening for the motion detector?

Thanks for reading.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 12:45 PM
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Before you go too far with motion detectors for lighting, once you are still in the room the lights will go out. So once every 5 minutes you will have to activate the control. I've related this before, but in Chicago at United Airlines catering kitchen for 737's, all rooms had motion detectors for general lighting. Conference rooms, work floors, etc. They were fine, but go into the bathroom, close yourself up in a stall and in a few minutes, zap, no lighting, no windows, pitch black, and no way to turn the lights on without waving a newspaper above the stall. A real PITA. Is this what you are planning?
 
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Old 01-20-08, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Before you go too far with motion detectors for lighting, once you are still in the room the lights will go out. So once every 5 minutes you will have to activate the control. I've related this before, but in Chicago at United Airlines catering kitchen for 737's, all rooms had motion detectors for general lighting. Conference rooms, work floors, etc. They were fine, but go into the bathroom, close yourself up in a stall and in a few minutes, zap, no lighting, no windows, pitch black, and no way to turn the lights on without waving a newspaper above the stall. A real PITA. Is this what you are planning?
This is for my home and not a public/commercial lavatory. I understand the motion requirements. I'm just looking for something that works with CFLs. I'm guessing you're not familiar with any.

p.s. I read your post above when I did a search of the subject on these forums. Reposting was unnecessary in my case.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 03:03 PM
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The only ones I have seen are the ones that are incorporated in the bulb itself, and that probably wouldn't work too well with shades, or behind a diffuser where the "eye" couldn't see.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 03:08 PM
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Instead of looking for a motion detector that works with CFLs, why don't you look for CFLs that work with a motion detector. Most dimmable CFLs will work just fine with most motion detectors.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by racraft View Post
Instead of looking for a motion detector that works with CFLs, why don't you look for CFLs that work with a motion detector. Most dimmable CFLs will work just fine with most motion detectors.
Thats a good and valid point, unfortunately I just spent over $100 equipping my house with nice 3000K CFL bulbs. If only I had thought of motion detectors first. Am I truly SOL when it comes to a non-dimmable CFL motion detector?

Would this one work for my CFL load?
http://www.smarthome.com/2520i.html
It says no minimum load.
 
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Old 01-21-08, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dgbehrends View Post
Many of my light switches are next to a switch for of a bathroom fan.
Will I be able to purchase a wall plate that has a normal switch opening next to an opening for the motion detector?

Thanks for reading.
Yep, you can get these types of wall plates at any of the big box stores.
 
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Old 02-24-08, 09:21 AM
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Motion Detector for CFL

I'm having the same problem with CFL bulbs and a motion detector. I even bought a motion detector that was labeled as working with fluorescents, although not CFL specifically.

I DON"T think the problem is due to a small load on the switch. In my bathroom I have a series of eight G-25 bulbs over the mirrors, and an overhead light as well, all on the same switch. So even though they are all now low-wattage CFLs, they add up to a reasonable load.

I think the problem is that the motion detector needs to have a small amount of current running through it to drive the electronics. If I replace ANY one of the CFL bulbs with an incandescent, it works fine. Since an incandescent is basically a light-emitting-resistor, it allows current to flow through it even when its not lit up. The CFLs do not do this.

So, I'm thinking there may be a way to apply a couple of electronic components to the outside of the motion detector to allow that small current to flow. A simple resistor might work, depending on how much current the detector actually needs. The detector apparently drops the output voltage to a very small amount so its not lighting up the incandescents in the "off" mode. If I put in a resistor that allows the correct current flow at this low voltage, it may be overpowered when the detector goes into the "on" mode.

It may take some more complicated circuit to allow the right flow at low voltage, but provide more resistance at higher voltages. In any case, this is just a theory at this point. I'll do some playing around and get back to you.

Meanwhile, I'll keep searching the web (probably in vain) for that elusive motion detector that just works.
 
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Old 02-25-08, 08:32 PM
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too low to run TRIACS

Originally Posted by dgbehrends View Post
I installed CFLs throughout most of my house and then at a friends house noticed these cool motion detector switches he had put in to replace his typical light switches for his incandescent lights. I did some research and found that most of the motion detector switches don't work for small load CFLs.

My questions are these:
Can someone recommend a good motion detector switch for CFLs? Minimum load would be 13Watts. However I do have some fixtures that have 39 and 65 watts.

Many of my light switches are next to a switch for of a bathroom fan.
Will I be able to purchase a wall plate that has a normal switch opening next to an opening for the motion detector?

Thanks for reading.
usually, these motion detectors just turn on a 40 watt bulb, and to save cost, they use a voltage controlling device called a TRIAC or something similar. They cost just pennies rather than a 10$ relay. Triacs, like like dimmers willnot control CFL, USUALLY, though there are now, in the works, thatdo but are extremely expensive. The best thing to do is go to an electricians ttore, buy a socket and a relay that plugs into it, for 110VAC and wire the motion detector bulb output to the relay and switch ANYTHING you want, a CFL or a STADIUM, makes no difference, you now have something that NEVER WILL BURN OUT !
 
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Old 08-28-08, 09:26 PM
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Can you explain more on this relay solution to plug into the outlet. Is this something that can be made small enough to put inline right inside the electrical box?
 
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Old 09-05-08, 04:27 PM
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I finally found a Motion plug adaptor that works with CFL (at least with sylvania CFL's will try more and report back)

I got it for $10 at Harbour Freight Its called a Sensor Plug 160' field of view and you can set it to turn off after upto 6 minutes and also tell it to ignore motion when ambient light is sufficient (daytime) 500watt max.

The one I got from homedepot was nice since it was thermal motion IE it would "NOT" turn off even if you stopped moving as long as someone was still in the room alas not CFL compatible.

Since it was not specified I am assuming this unit will turn off unless your moving. I am not sure. If I successful test it I will report back.

OK it appears to be thermal. Easy way to test is COVER the sensor with your hand. There will now be NO motion but it can see the warmth of your hand. It did not turn off.

So I am going to assume its thermal. At $10 that rocks. its pass through plug style.

you plug this into the socket and then plug your "gadget" into its socket (think kill-a-watt style)

Hope that helps.
 
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Old 02-17-09, 09:44 AM
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I also had problems with CFL and motion occupancy switches because the CFL kept flickering. After trying a few models with bad results I found a very inexpensive Relay Switch that has taken care of the problem.
I bought the INFRARED RELAY MOTION SENSOR OCCUPANCY WALL SWITCH from the following people: NoAds I could not believe that such inexpensive occupancy switch would solve my problems inside the home and I also got their INFRARED RELAY MOTION SENSOR OCCUPANCY CEILING SWITCH 360 DEGREES and installed on the garage.
I am very happy because it took me a few months and a couple hundreds Dollars to finally get everything to work.
VERY IMPORTANT: Follow the installation diagram on their web site and not the one inside of the boxes.
I hope I have helped.
Cheers!
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 02-17-09 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Link removed.
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Old 02-17-09, 02:20 PM
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If the link does not have a referral code its not really an ad.

since the link was removed your post is neutered :-) can you tell us the name of the product/company such that a google search will render it ?
 
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Old 02-17-09, 05:29 PM
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Infrared relay motion sensor occupancy wall switch

Originally Posted by nerys View Post
If the link does not have a referral code its not really an ad.

since the link was removed your post is neutered :-) can you tell us the name of the product/company such that a google search will render it ?
I am sorry. I didn't know we could not write links.
Answering your question, you can Google: Brazix Occupancy Sensor and you will find the occupancy switches.
 
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Old 02-17-09, 08:41 PM
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Oh very cool. Nice engrish but they are cheap, hackable, and CFL compatible!

these might also solve my bathroom problem! ie people leaving the damned lights on. even at 11watts LED's I want them off :-) I might just REMOVE the light switch and replace it with one of these!

The engrish is really bad but it appears that it keeps "resetting" the time when its triggered. Some timers will count down there time and IGNORE further triggers until they have finished a cycle IE turned off and then "trigger" back on.

this one if I am reading it right will stay on and keep resetting the timer as long as you keep triggering it.

I may also try one of these out back if they can be made weather resistant. Our outdoor light does that annoying ignore triggers till after its shut off issue :-)

Then seem relatively affordable too. I am intrigued by the 360' unit. Its awful thick but I guess I could "recess" it a little so its more flush mounted if it works well.

thanks for the info!
 
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Old 07-02-09, 05:16 PM
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Nerys Did this work for you?
 
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Old 01-13-10, 03:42 PM
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Brazix???

I have installed a Brazix motion detector that controls CFL's. It works very well. The lights turn on without any flickering, and when off the lights are totally off. I am concerned however that the switch doesn't have a UL listing, manufacturer name, or country name where produced. Does anybody know anything about this product or maker?
 
 

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